Officially opened in 1970, the course lies on 450 acres of natural rolling countryside and was developed to meet the rigorous design standards required for world class championship competition. The difficult job of design was put in the hands of the late Commander John Harris, Michael Wolveridge and Peter Thomson. The par-5 14th hole here at Wairakei is one of the longest and most challenging in New Zealand. At 548 metres, this hole would be a serious test of golf if it were a straight, wide open fairway with a large, friendly green. But it has a monstrous pine tree in the middle of the fairway that, like one of those giant trees in The Lord of the Rings, seems to come to life by forcing players to go right or left with their second shot. It wasn't until 1996 that Golf Digest rated it among the top 20 courses in the world outside of the US.